Guest Post: Dreams Really Do Come True by Barbara Hinson

Good morning everyone, I have a special treat today! Author Barbara Hinske has a fabulous guest post about her novella and how it’s about to premiere on the Hallmark Channel on November 27. I adore Christmas movies and can’t wait to watch this, here is some more information on the movie and below is more information about the book and the post from the author.


Verna Lind expects Christmas of 1952 to be the best holiday she’s had since the war ended. But as she’s leaving the bank, a frigid wind off Lake Erie catches her hard-earned Christmas club savings, whisking the bills into the busy streets of downtown Cleveland and devastating her plans. Strangers come to her aid, though no one anticipates the power of their chance encounter or the seeds of happiness Verna’s lost money will sow. 

From Barbara Hinske, best-selling author of the Rosemont series, comes this heartwarming Christmas tale celebrating the generosity of the human spirit and the irresistible pull of love — an instant holiday classic for admirers of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Gift of the Magi. 

Dreams Really do Come True


The Christmas Club – my Christmas novella – is one of the Hallmark Channel’s 2019 Christmas movies! If that sounds like an author’s dream come true, it is!


I’m a women’s fiction author who also writes mystery/thriller/suspense novels – all of them with a touch of romance. I planned to publish an anthology of Christmas novellas with a group of other similar authors. It seemed like a smart marketing opportunity and I set to work. What would I write about?


A homily from a sermon I’d heard thirty years earlier had made a big impression on me at the time and had stuck with me all these years later. The point of the pastor’s story was to do kind things in nice ways. We all like to be recognized when we do something kind for someone else. I certainly like a pat on the back! But sometimes the recipient of our generosity feels demeaned – or is made to feel “less than” – by acknowledging our gift. The pastor told the story of a woman whose money blows out of her hands. A young man races off to chase after it, returning to her with the money. She gratefully acknowledges his efforts at finding it. What he doesn’t tell her is that the money was long gone; he’d restored it to her from his own wallet. She isn’t made to feel like a charity case.


I expanded on this idea by placing characters at Christmas (in 1952) and having the lost money be Christmas Club savings. If anyone has saved all year long in a Christmas Club account at the bank, they know how precious that money is and how devastating it would be to lose it. In my story, however, that lost money carries blessings with it all around.


As it turned out, I was the only author who actually wrote their novella. I published it as a stand-alone work in October of 2016 and the rest, as they say, is history. The Christmas Club was greeted with enthusiastic reviews – many of them opining that it would make a great Hallmark movie and that they would re-read the story every Christmas.


Crown Media purchased the screen rights and Julie Sherman Wolfe made a lovely screenplay out of it. She changed the setting from 1952 to current day and added a twist that I wished I’d thought of. In my humble opinion, I think both the book and the movie are holiday classics and should be on everyone’s “to do” list for the holiday – now and in the years to come.


My goal in writing The Christmas Club was to uplift, encourage, and entertain. I’m more than pleased with the pleasure and happiness it’s bringing into the world.

Review: First Blood by Angela Marsons @bookouture @WriteAngie

Release date: November 14, 2019

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station.  She’s about to meet her team for the first time.  The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…

When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.

Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop.  Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?  

As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson.  But that’s not all Stacey finds …

She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?

With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad.  Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.

Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…

Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night.  Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.

A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.


You know what I never realized that I needed in my life? A prequel to the Kim Stone series and after having read First Blood it was exactly what I was craving and I didn’t even know it. Good thing Angela Marsons is far more clever than I am and anticipated what this series needed well ahead of all of her fans, I swear she’s such a keen and crafty author, bravo once again 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

This follows the team, as we know them, but way back when they worked their first case together. Yep, you get to see Kim meet everyone for the first time; Bryant, Stacey and Dawson all meet each other and the boss for the first time and their first case was quite the head scratcher. It was just as dark, disturbing and deranged as the rest of the series and of course it kept me guessing, and second guessing myself the whole way through. Marsons never pulls any punches and she sure didn’t here either.

There was something almost sweet and tender about seeing these well loved characters during a vulnerable time as they all start work together for the first time. Of course going back to see Dawson was incredibly bittersweet knowing what I now know, I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten so teary eyed reading a thriller before, but there you have it. Seeing the very beginnings of their various relationships forming was eye opening and really fun, if you’ve ever wondered what Bryant thought of Kim after a first impression or how Stacey found her niche within the team this will answer all of those burning questions and then some.

Longtime fans of the series are going to be just as thrilled about this prequel as I am, it was incredible and has every element that I’ve come to know, love and appreciate in a Kim Stoke book. Hurry and go grab your copy now so I have someone to chat with please, and if you’ve been ignoring my constant urging for you to read this series for years now go ahead and listen to me already 😝

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Raven Lane by Amber Cowie


Release date: November 12, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


The truth can bring out the worst in the best of friends.

Esme and Benedict Werner have an idyllic life in a tight-knit community until an accident in their cul-de-sac ends in the tragic sudden death of one of their dearest neighbors. After vindicating eyewitness accounts morph into contradictory memories, suspicion, and unaccountable accusations, Benedict is arrested. Esme’s life, too, is changed forever.

As the neighborhood largely turns against her and her family, Esme has time to think about her past and what to do next. Then her fellow residents start looking deeper, questioning one another, and themselves, about hidden lies and betrayals.

Esme has more than her share of secrets. And the consequences of what happened on that fateful late-summer evening on Raven Lane are far from over. When the mask of civility slips, can friends and neighbors recover from seeing the monstrous truths beneath? 


I absolutely love a juicy domestic drama and Cowie delivers with Raven Lane. This is full of the type of characters I love to hate and so many of them are hiding dark and dangerous secrets, I know I wouldn’t want any of them as my neighbors! But they were really entertaining to read about and all were rather complex and interesting, but not altogether likable. If you like a quiet style of suspense this is the book for you, it’s character driven and scandalous and even a little sexy at times, but this combo worked incredibly well for me and I raced through this one.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the book within a book, the man that died is an author and every once in a while there’s an excerpt from his book. The book he was writing was a little weird but intriguing, and between that, the present day timeline and Esme’s slow unraveling of her own past, I was hooked. This was edgier than Rapid Falls and very different, but I adore Cowie’s writing style and that didn’t change. I also applaud authors who push their own boundaries and try something new from book to book and the shift was great for me, I’m now a firm fan of the author.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.